A member of Bloomington’s city council says the recent decision by Finelight Marketing to move its headquarters out of the downtown area was disappointing, and says other downtown businesses may decide to move elsewhere unless the city addresses parking problems. But the Deputy Mayor says a plan to have the city’s downtown parking garages managed by an Indianapolis company will provide an important component of a vibrant downtown community. During the city council meeting Wednesday night, council member Brad Wisler said Finelight’s decision not to locate its headquarters on Kirkwood suggested it was easier for business to move outside of the downtown core, and he said that attitude will likely encourage sprawl. But Deputy Mayor James McNamara says better management of the city’s three garages is key to downtown development.
Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan announced this week his plans to hire REI Property Management to oversee the three garages at a net monthly cost of just over $11,000. Kruzan says he will submit the proposal to council June 20th, and to the City Board of Public Works on June 26th. He says the public will have three opportunities to offer input on the plan. McNamara said Wednesday that the city hopes to implement the new agreement July 15th. He says only one municipal employee would have to become an employee of REI. He says under the agreement, the Indianapolis firm would add the equivalent of 4.5 full-time employees to help manage the garages.